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East Chicago official speaks to Warren council



Published: Thu, February 28, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A WL Ross & amp; Co. representative calls LTV a world-class operation with great potential.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The possible acquisition of LTV Steel would need to move quickly to begin healing the wounds in several communities.

That was the message Wednesday night to Warren City Council from Frank Kollintzas, president of city council in East Chicago, Ind., where 3,400 jobs were lost when the steelmaker filed for bankruptcy.

He sees a lot of similarities in Warren and East Chicago and said both communities are reeling from effects that foreign imports have left on the industry.

Warren council passed resolutions supporting WL Ross & amp; Co.'s efforts in acquiring the company and to urge President Bush to take immediate action in response to the steel industry crises.

LTV has called Ross the lead bidder, and Kollintzas said there were about 10 other bidders representing other countries, including China, Brazil and Canada.

Other bidders want to break up LTV operations and move them to their respective countries, he added.

Mayor Hank Angelo said Ross wants to buy LTV plants in Warren, Cleveland, East Chicago and in Illinois.

Attending rally: If that happens, Angelo said another struggle will be to get the voice of the steel industry heard in Washington, D.C. Local politicians, residents and steel workers were to leave the Warren Coke Plant this morning to rally there.

"We want to have a thousand faces backing us in Washington," Angelo said.

Doug Schrader, from East Chicago, is a consultant with Ross and a former regional manager for government affairs for LTV.

If Ross is deemed the successful bidder, Schrader said, operations "would move as expeditiously as possible."

Full production in East Chicago would need between 1,000 and 1,500 employees, he said.

Bill Prejsnar, unit president of the Warren Coke Plant, said about 200 employees would be needed locally, the amount there now. He added that minor repairs would need to be made before production was back on track.

Schrader called LTV a world-class operation and said it has great potential because of good facilities, a trained work force and because it's considered the heart of the steel market.

The situation with LTV has had a tremendous impact on East Chicago, where it makes up about 25 percent of the tax base, Schrader said, adding that another big steelmaker in town accounts for 50 percent of that city's tax base.

davis@vindy.com




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